Friday, July 18, 2008

A Life Without Goals Is A Life Unfulfilled

I didn’t want to write this post. Not because I don’t have a passion for the subject matter—I live for goals! I just didn’t feel like sitting here, pen in hand (yes, I write the old fashioned way, with pen and paper; I then transfer those scratched out words to a word document, and then I post it to my blog—it works for me) vexing my brain into coming up with today’s post. But here I am, writing about the necessity of goals in our lives, despite desiring to be elsewhere. Why? Because I have to—it’s one of my goals.

Recently, I decided that I would write three blog posts a week—on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I visit dozens of blogs each day, taking note of content, style, and frequency of posts, and based on that figured that three was just about right. That number also fit in with my wanting to write about the three main themes of, Personal Development, and Entertainment—each week. After making this decision, I then made it a goal. Being serious about my goals, and today being Friday, I felt compelled, bound by self-promise, to keep my word to myself. Ah, goals!

I am a firm believer that to be successful in life one needs to have a plan. Now, I also understand the need for spontaneity and that I am unable to “control” a lot of situations, realize that life often tosses us curveballs of fate, both ominous and serendipitous, that my plans or goals make little dent in. For that I like to say, “Worry about the things you can control and not about what you cannot.” What I am getting at is the gist of this post, and that is: Take charge of your life by setting goals!


Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight—I strongly suggest setting a weekly goal to strive for. For me, when I lost 40 pounds in six months, I set a goal of losing two pounds a week as something to shoot for. My short-range goals also included weighing myself daily, keeping a diet journal of everything I put in my mouth, and counting calories consumed and burned. A lot of effort, but well worth it—it worked!

Set clearly defined goals, but make sure they are not too easy or too difficult to attain. If they are too easy, then raise the bar; find yourself something worthwhile to shoot for. But don’t raise that bar too high—if a goal appears unattainable, then you begin to lose faith, get frustrated, regress, and sometimes give up. It is a challenging balancing act, but if you put some thought and effort into it, you’d be surprised at how effective your results will be.

Speaking of effort—setting, maintaining, and reaching goals is all about effort. Hard work. You will get out of it only what you put into it. If you are serious about changing your life for the better—physically, intellectually, financially, spiritually, relationship-wise—and bringing more purpose and fulfillment into your days, it takes some work. Work well worth the effort. But you need a plan. You need goals.


Have you ever sat in a job interview, or maybe just a performance review with your boss, and heard this query: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Big groan, right?

Most of us are just trying to survive today, or at least this week, month, maybe year. Think about five years for a moment—it seems like a long time, but, for me, at least, these last five years have flown by! If you are not where you want to be now, chances are you did not give enough attention to your goals five years ago—make sense? Put another way: If you see yourself five years from now in a better career, nicer home, married with children (or divorced, free, and consuming fruity beverages on a beach in the Caribbean), you will need to start planning NOW. Start setting goals.

• Make a list of your dreams and goals
• Make a plan of how to attain the above
• Set a doable timetable
• Put forth the effort
• Remember that there will be snags, forks in the road, challenges and adversity along the way, so…
• Don’t be afraid to reassess, tweak, and refresh your goals. As you evolve, so do your goals.
• Stay the course, never give up, dream, and live!


When I think long-range, I think ten years or more, maybe longer. What I’m really trying to say is—when can I retire? And: how much money will I need? Also where?

A few years ago, I made a major commitment and decisions that would greatly determine when and how well my wife and I would retire and live. How did I go about doing this? I set goals. Sensing I was nearing the end of my prime earning years, I made a concerted effort to work more hours, earn more money, so we could save more. I set short- and mid-range goals for contributions in our 401k plans, upping the percentages each year until we eventually hit our maxes. I reworked our budget to help meet these goals (a good practice to do at least once a year), cutting spending here, sacrificing there (here’s a helpful video to get you started in the right direction), without compromising our other goal of enjoying our lives today.

These are just some of my goals. Your goals will be different, and they will need different strategies and planning. No matter what your dream life is, what goals you need to work on to achieve it, the more effort you put forth the better your results will be. Focus, plan, work hard, and you’re on your way.

Set goals and stick with them and your dream life, before you know it, will become reality.

Remember: A life without goals is a life unfulfilled.

Wow, for a guy who didn’t feel like writing, I sure wrote a lot. Why? Because it was a goal.




Nikki said...

Great post and I think you're dead on.

Greatness is rarely stumbled upon. It is usually the result of hardwork, dedication and achievement of GOALS!

Thanks for the boost. :)

Anonymous said...

I am great at setting goals it seems to come to me like drinking water. The thing I had to learn was setting rewards...things to look forward to when I worked hard. My sweetheart is great at that. He sets short term rewards...little things each day...moderate term rewards...maybe something at the end of the week, etc....and long terms rewards...a vacation or something else that affords a break and rest to replenish. I still have to remind myself to do that.

Great post and writing!!

Anonymous said...

You are right, Nikki, and I am glad I assisted in giving you a boost.

Robin, I wish I could rewrite this post to add you view on rewards--I actually give myself a dog biscuit every once and awhile, but neglected to state that this time. I find myself working hardest and striving toward achieving goals right before vacations, knowing that that is my reward...and that I will, no doubt, embark on several days of sloth.


Anonymous said...

GREAT POST about such an important topic.

my fave part? the final sentence.

Anonymous said...

Some people live a goaless life simply because they believe the had, have and wil always have everything they need. This is true especially for kids and very close relatives of wealthy people. What most of those people fail to see is that life is very full of surprises, since seeing the future is almost out f reach.

Plan your own course and one day, i bet you will stand up tall, shoulder high, and say "I MADE IT".

Anonymous said...

I know, I know, I know write your goals. However, they are worthless without action. Most people have too many goals in my opinion. I suggest pick one really important goal and use all your efforts to make that happen you will be much more likely to be successful. Thank you! Great post!

Amy @ LiveWell said...

My long-term goal (among others) is to go where ever it was you took that picture!!!

Anonymous said...

Maui! And, go, it is well worth it!


Anonymous said...

I love goals and they do come in all shapes and sizes. As the aging process is well under becomes more challenging. Like your losing the weight...I am glad I never had to do the dieting..but the restriction and careful eating has worked well. But you achieved the dream...And goals can be as simple as having a joyful day...carol stanley author For Kids 59.99 and Over"

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

For weeks now I've been feeling unfulfilled at home and at work. Happy but unfulfilled - as if something is missing. Having read your blog it has really spurred me on to start planning and attaining some new goals. I feel better already thanks to you all...

Jinsight said...

Thank you Mike, this is a great post. I'm pretty young right now, but I do feel I've made many wrong decisions in my life and am unsure where things will proceed from here. Have you ever had a similar situation where you acted spontaneously but soon regretted it? How did you cope with the repercussions?

Thanks again and I wish your blog well!

sherry said...

hey it was nice reading your blog since i was searching on ggogle for something which could boost my moral. I have a question here how can i know what my goal is ?
I know its weird but what if i don't know what is my goal in life? Any process where we can decide .
I start so many things with all that dedication but leave it half way or may be before half only. Im really depressed please help:(

sherry said...

hey it was nice reading your blog since i was searching on ggogle for something which could boost my moral. I have a question here how can i know what my goal is ?
I know its weird but what if i don't know what is my goal in life? Any process where we can decide .
I start so many things with all that dedication but leave it half way or may be before half only. Im really depressed please help:(

Ollie said...

I literally need a goal that not only has an objective outcome ("lose 10 lbs") but also a firm, non-arbitrary time limit. For example, I used to run marathons...the objective, measurable goal was to run 26.2 miles, and on race day, ready or not, succeed or fail, I'd make my attempt, and then it was over...time to choose the next goal.

As my life has grown more complicated with age, I'm now too overwhelmed with simple survival to realistically set and pursue any aspirational goal. The only goals that are realistic at my level of performance (which is severely hampered by ADHD and other mental health problems) completely fail to inspire me. Walking 1 mile per day is fine if it's the first step toward eventually running my nex marathon, but with distance runnIng as a non-option due to injuries and time constraints, daily walking just to slow the spread of my middle-age gut is a completely unsatisfying "goal" unto itself.

How can I find goals that are realistic given my limitations but also ones that I can be passionate about pursuing?
How can I find goals that are

Hoodia Weight Loss Supplement said...

Your share is absolutely interesting.

technologynews said...

Thanks for sharing a useful article on life without Goals is life unfulfilled. I means it is really spurred me on to start planning and attaining some new goals..

technews said...

This is so nice reading your blog since i was searching on gogle for something which could help to developed my honesty. thank you so much for your article.

James Rodriguez said...

I'm impressed to read this article. Just i want to say that if you want successful person in your life. At first set your goal that how want to see myself. Over all read this article i feel it. Thank you wonderful sharing

stopdrinkingexpert said...

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